Seiso (10) In 2006 when Seiso was 18 months old he was set upon by two local boys aged 11 and 12. They poured tea and boiling water over his groin area and hot oil over his head. They rubbed chillies into his skin and stuffed his mouth full of pills to silence him, before bundling him in a bag. In court they claimed they had been under the influence of cannabis and paint thinner and that a ‘priest’ had told them to kill Seiso. They were sentenced to 5 years in a juvenile correction centre and were released in 2. Sieso now lives with his grandmother and cannot visit the family home because the boys live nearby, one living next door. Sieso says his mother comes to visit him at his grandmother’s house.


Seiso is one of the gentlest children I have met, he shows so much care for the younger children, often getting tissues to wipe Rien’s nose and helping others to create their artwork before he starts his own. He is often grinning his toothy grin. It is further testament to Bronwen’s drive and determination that this child has come through the most horrific childhood trauma, and that he trusts anyone at all. He’s great fun too, instigationg a pre-photoshoot last night in his pants, pirate hat and glitzy glasses, before the others muscled in. I’ve sat with Lungosani (who got wildly lost trying to find the hospital) and Seiso today eating carrots and crackers in the military hospital, Seiso answering his schoolwork questions about prepositions and similies and drawing portraits . We compared scars and I answered his questions about how I got mine. Seiso doesn’t remember what happened to him and says only that ‘ they poured water onto me.’ The surgeon, after spending a good ten minutes reading through notes about the operations Seiso has endured, explained that he would be able to relieve Seiso’s constrictions around his middle early next year by a process called lipo infiltration (scared the wits out of me with my lipo sarcoma) and that when Seiso was older and maybe in need of spectacles he would perform an operation to remodel his ear.

– stopped on route for a quick peek at the gigantic Mandela Statue at The Union Building before heading back to Melville.



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